This collection relates to the lives and professional careers of Nancy Evans and Eric Crozier, including writings, papers, correspondence, diaries, photographs, programmes, press cuttings, printed and manuscript music, printed librettos, tape recordings, books and periodicals.
Nancy Evans and Eric Crozier papers
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Nancy Evans made her début in recital in Liverpool in 1933, singing for the first time in London a year later. Her stage début was in Sullivan's The Rose of Persia (1938, London); in 1939 she sang small roles at Covent Garden. During the war she sang widely for the Entertainments National Services Association. She joined what was to become the English Opera Group in 1946, alternating with Kathleen Ferrier in the title role of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne. In 1947 she created Nancy in Albert Herring, and later sang Polly in Britten's version of The Beggar's Opera, Purcell's Dido, and Lucinda Woodcock in Arne's Love in a Village. In 1968 she created the Poet and seven other characters in Malcolm Williamson's The Growing Castle. A noted concert singer, she was the dedicatee and first performer, at the 1948 Holland Festival, of Britten's A Charm of Lullabies; in recital she specialized in French and 20th-century British song repertory.
Eric Crozier was one of the first drama producers for BBC Television. Following the outbreak of World War II he worked first with Tyrone Guthrie at the Old Vic and then with Sadler's Wells. His first production for the company, The Bartered Bride in 1943, was followed in 1945 by Peter Grimes. After dissension arose within the organization he left and co-founded the English Opera Group in 1947 and the Aldeburgh Festival in 1948 with Britten, John Piper and Pears.
The success of Crozier's first libretto, Albert Herring (1947), led to further collaboration with Britten; Let's Make an Opera (1948), and, with E.M. Forster, Billy Budd (1951). Crozier also wrote the libretto for Lennox Berkeley's Ruth (1956) and directed the premières of Peter Grimes (1945, London; 1946, Tanglewood) and The Rape of Lucretia (1946, Glyndebourne). His opera translations include The Bartered Bride, Otello, Falstaff and La traviata (all with Joan Cross), Idomeneo, Salome and Die Frau ohne Schatten. Crozier also wrote books for children and was an accomplished broadcaster. He was a tutor at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies at Snape Maltings, with his wife, who succeeded Peter Pears as director.
This material is made available under the standard conditions of the Britten-Pears Foundation. Readers will be required to produce proof of identity and to sign a Reader's Undertaking form.
Other Finding Aids
The collection is partly catalogued. There is a preliminary list of accession 6747 (list 116).
Compiled by Judith Tydeman, Mar 2004; biographies based on entries by Harold Rosenthal and J.M. Thomson on Grove Music Online.
The majority of the collection was purchased from Nancy's daughter, Helga Andrew, in 2001. Some items were purchased from Sotheby's 28 May 1993 and 1 Dec 1994.